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Large stone serpent head

Colossal Aztec stone serpent head

Mexica (Aztec) large serpent head, c. 1440-1521, volcanic stone with traces of stucco and paint, length 1.07 metres, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

Large serpent heads were commonly placed at the foot of the snake balustrade on either side of the ceremonial stairways on Toltec and Aztec pyramids. Examples in situ may still be seen in the excavation of the base of the Templo Mayor, near the Cathedral in Mexico City. They represent Quetzalcóatl, the Feathered Serpent, the best-known deity and culture hero in Postclassic Mesoamerica.

From Before Cortés: Sculpture of Middle America, Metropolitan Museum of Art Catalogue, New York, 1970, p. 296.

Photo by, courtesy of and © Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Colossal serpent as stone foundation